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Once A Month Cook | Muffins, Crock Pot Rice and a Macaroni Casserole


So, as I mentioned in my Menu Plan this week, I did a once a month cook. It happened yesterday.

All of my past freezer cooking has primarily been breakfast items. Simply because that is what I’m comfortable with. But, I did branch out and do a few more things this time.

Crockpot Brown Rice

The first thing I did was start my brown rice. This is the simplest thing to do and I mention it whenever I have a chance to speak about savings and couponing. It saves time and money since you aren’t purchasing the more expensive Minute Rice varieties. You just need a 2 bag of grain rice and you:

  • Spray the crockpot with cooking spray
  • Empty the rice into the crockpot
  • Cover the rice with water or chicken stock. Add about another inch of water to ensure it’s really covered
  • Add 3 chicken bouillion cubes (if you don’t use chicken stock)
  • Add 4 tbsp (or possibly more if you want) of butter – I used an entire stick and it tasted awesome!

Cook on high for about 3-4 hours. You need to watch it near the last hour depending on how fast your crockpot cooks. This turns to mush if you overcook it.

When the rice is cooled, separate into freezer bags. When you are ready to cook, just let it thaw and stick it in the microwave with a tbsp of butter (to moisten it) and you’re good to go! This saves SO much time and quite a bit of money considering a bag of uncooked rice is around $1.50 and we get about 3-4 side dishes with the one bag.

Banana Sour Cream Muffins

I started with the Banana Sour Cream Muffins, but I used pumpkin instead of bananas. They didn’t come out with a strong flavor, but they were good enough for me! I’m hoping T (our oldest) will eat these since he’s been loving pumpkin this season.

Andon was a HUGE help, as you can see :) He really wanted to help so I let him stir the sugar and cinnamon together. Then he ate half of it. He looks disappointed in the picture – he was caught!

Andon Baking

Mac & Chicken Bake

Have you ever been to Rock Bottom Brewery? Well, they have the . BEST Macaroni & Chicken Bake. I’m hoping this tastes like it. I did taste a little bit and it was pretty good! You can find the recipe over at Once A Month Mom.

I altered the recipe a bit before I froze it. I simply left out the top layer of cheese and breadcrumbs. My freezer bag noted the cooking time and temperature and a reminder to add those two things before baking.

Freezer Onions

I may be the only one who rarely uses onions. I use them so little, in fact, that when I do purchase onions, they go bad. So, I had a bag ready to go bad and I decided I was going to freeze them to use in recipes. I used my new food processor (or new-to-me) that $5 Dinner Mom gave me and I got to pulsing.

Well, I pulsed too much or I chose the wrong setting because I got onion mush! But, it tasted fine since I had to sautee it for the Chicken & Macaroni Bake. So, I salvaged the mush and flash-froze piles of mush. Once they were frozen, I stuck the little piles in a bag. It will taste the same and I’ll actually have the perfect portion already ready to go!

That might be the most frugal I got all week!

photo 3

So, that’s all I did! Compared to some of the other ladies cooking today, I am a slacker! But, I did do a few extra things for those days when I’m mentally drained and want to call for Domino’s :)

You can find a list of everyone participating in this monthly cook at Life as Mom and Money Saving Mom! People are linking up recipes, cooking pictures and their end result of a hard day’s work! It’s fun to get inspired and find new recipes too! This seems to be a reoccurring virtual gathering of cooks. Definitely join in next time!

About Andrea Deckard

Andrea Deckard is a personal finance expert and speaker. She lives by the following motto, "save on what you need so you can spend on what you want." She started Savings Lifestyle in 2008, and long-time readers remember the site as Mommy Snacks. Andrea is a go-to resource on frugal living for local news outlets such as WDTN, WGRR, and as well as national outlets like Good Morning America. She has also been featured in multiple national publications.


  1. Suz on December 3, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Thanks for sharing the mac/chicken bake source. I’ve been wondering since seeing your tweets yesterday!

  2. Carolyn on December 3, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    How do you flash freeze your onions without stinking up the freezer? I’d love to be able to do this!

    • mommysnacks on December 3, 2009 at 3:49 pm

      Carolyn, I put them in our *spare* freezer and didn’t notice an onion smell when I bagged them. Now, my hands are a different story! I smell like onions still!!!

  3. Lori on December 4, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Andrea it might be too late to tip you on the onion hands but I’ve heard if you rub a stainless steel spoon on your hand it goes away, worth a try, I suppose:-)

    Also, I rarely use onions too, so when I do buy a bag or a few, I manually chop them up so they don’t get too juicy and freeze them flat in a zipper bag I then break off a chunk when I need some, try that next time.

  4. Carolyn on December 4, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks! My chopped onions usually end up in huge clumps, so I’m willing to try it. Maybe I’ll put a box of baking soda on the shelf, just in case.

  5. NerdMom on December 20, 2009 at 2:18 am

    So can you do the rice with any whole grain rice?

    • Andrea Deckard on December 20, 2009 at 3:03 pm

      NerdMom, I have just tried brown rice, but I’m assuming it would work with any uncooked rice.

  6. Kandi on December 22, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Thanks for the recipes for the rice and the onions! Mine turn to mush too. Similiar things happen to great cooks…haha! Also, I linked this on our blog…hope you don’t mind!

    • Andrea Deckard on December 22, 2009 at 9:52 pm

      Kandi – that is so encouraging! They tasted the same too – I’ve already used them :) Link anytime!!

  7. Jane on January 6, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I use a mandolin to thinly slice my onions or peppers before freezing. Then even if I don’t have time to thaw they are still small enough to chop or break apart with my hands.

  8. Cas on January 31, 2010 at 12:42 am

    You did great on your freezer day! I haven’t done a freezer day lately…dragging with this pregnancy but I do freeze onions all the time. I also chop them in the food processor. Scoop them into ziploc bags with a half cup per baggie…flatten the bags seal them shut. Then I put them on a cookie tray flat and freeze them for 3 hours till solid. Then put all the little baggies in one big freezer bag. Making them flat helps them thaw faster and never physically touching them with my hands keeps the scent off. If your hands do get scented here is what I do. Coat your hands is dishwashing soap and about a tsp. of salt. Then rub your hands on something stainless steal I use either a large serving spoon or sometimes my sink. The soap and salt exfoliate your hands and really helps the stainless remove all the scent completely. Hope this helps I learned all this by lots of trial and error!

    • Andrea Deckard on January 31, 2010 at 11:28 am

      Thanks Cas! I am definitely trying that tip. What would you recommend so I don’t cry uncontrollably when I’m cutting them up? The kids were extremely concerned mom was losing it!

  9. Cas on January 31, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Your welcome…we don’t eat alot of onions at my house but its cheaper to buy the bag so I had figure out a way to use them instead of waste them…cause thats the whole point in saving money….and I used to waste alot!! There are so many old wives tales about how to prevent an onion from stinging your eyes while chopping. So far they all prove false for me…putting them in the freezer prior to chopping doesnt work chopping under cold water doesn’t work…and so on….hey I even went so far as to wear swim goggles once….you think your kids thought you were losing it…lol…my husband walked by the kitchen window and peeped in and caught sight of the goggles…I wish I had a camera and caught that reaction. The best advice I can offer is do it fast… get all your bags laid out and when you finish chopping them scoop them with a measuring eleminates the step of measuring you automatically get the 1/2 cup you wanted..don’t put your face over that food processor whatever you do….and I always put a bowl of vinegar out when working with something stinky….vinegar removes odors from the the onion smell doesn’t linger as long…hope those help you out!

  10. Kathy Rangel on March 29, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Try chewing gum while cutting onions. It works great for me – the strong flavor of the gum keeps my senses focused on that, not letting the onion get in.

  11. louise lynch on October 31, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Hey I wanted to share with you a freezer tip, that I use all the time. Since you did the small bags of rice and the onions.
    I make pulled pork bq and sloppy joes, and always make extra. I take a cup cake tin and put in cupcake papers and fill with the leftovers. Thank I flash freeze them also. Then pop into a freezer bag. When the kids are hankering a sandwich, they take one out and pop in microwave and they have one. Sure saved on waste, and saved on them stopping at fastfood spots..
    Just wanted to share it with you.
    Really enjoyed your site
    Louise Watson Lynch

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